By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, December 15, 2009 at 4:04 pm
Last year, a Web site reported that low-end electronics manufacturer Coby was going to release a $99.95 mini-laptop. It was exciting news–and a hoax. But Cherrypal has announced something that sounds more or less like the machine that Coby didn’t. The Cherrypal Africa has a 7-inch screen, 2GB of flash memory, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, two USB ports (one of which is of the obsolete USB 1.1 flavor), and either Windows CE or Linux. And yup, it sells for $99.
The Africa isn’t going to replace your MacBook Pro. Or your netbook. Or, really, any other computing device you own–it’s profoundly basic, and as the name suggests, it may be of most interest in developing nations where there are plenty of people for whom even $99 is going to be a stretch.
Actually, the Cherrypal Web site describes the Africa with a word I’ve never, ever heard a computer manufacturer use about its own product: “slow.”
In another place, the site calls the Africa a “no-thrills laptop.” Also refreshingly honest! The company seems to be more excited about its $389 13.3″ Bing notebook. (Which, confusingly, has nothing to do with Microsoft’s search engine–Cherrypal had the name first.) In fact, it says the Bing is “the fastest and most affordable laptop on the market today.” I haven’t seen the Bing, but I kind of suspect both claims are, um, false.
I’m not going to buy a Cherrypal Africa, and neither are you–but do you think it’s a noble experiment, a goofy oddity, a desperate cry for attention–or all three?